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What are the 9 types of intelligence?

Intelligence is defined as the ability to perceive knowledge and skills and apply it in the real world. However, intelligence is a broad term and is associated with many factors.

To understand intelligence better, this concept was broken down into 9 categories as a theory by Howard Gardner  in a book called Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences :

  1. Logical and mathematical: quantifiying things, making hypotheses and proving them.
  2. Naturalistic: understanding living things and reading nature.
  3. Interpersonal: sensing people's feelings and motives.
  4. Musical: discerning sounds, their pitch, tone, rhythm, and timbre.
  5. Spatial: visualizing the world in three dimensions.
  6. Kinesthetic: coordinating your mind with your body.
  7. Linguistic: finding the right words to express what you mean.
  8. Intra-personal: understanding yourself, what you feel, and what you want.
  9. Existential: tackling the questions of why we live, and why we die.

This book emphasize on the fact that intelligence isn't based on one or two things, it's a sea in itself and the human mind is capable of a diverse range of cognitive abilities. Hence, intelligence was categorized into many types.

Each category is linked with a special trait and all of us are said to possess at least one of them.

Gardener showed a new perspective to us. He highlighted how a person can be awful at one thing, but exceptional at other. For example, you can be good at art but horrible at numbers. Thus, intelligence is not to be recognized as a single entity but as a collection of various traits.

Let's have a look at these 9 types of intelligence.

1. Logical and mathematical intelligence

This kind of intelligence is associated with many capabilities. Famous names like Albert Einstein, Sherlock Holmes, Blaise Pascal, Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg all are linked with logical intelligence because of the way they perceive things, recognize patterns and come with solutions.

People having logical intelligence are good at deductive reasoning, thinking logically and in recognizing patterns. In other words, these people excel at making scientific investigations, coming up with concepts and ideas, comparing and identifying relationships among things and comprehending complex ideas and concepts which most of the people can't.

Logical intelligence is about minimizing problems to the point where a final answer is achieved. It is a systematic way of analyzing and solving problems with the help of maths and logic.

2. Naturalistic Intelligence

In simple words, this kind of intelligence is the exact opposite of artificial intelligence.

Naturalistic intelligence is the sensitivity of a person towards nature. Great hunters are said to have this intelligence as they predict, calculate and measure the moves of their prey and take actions accordingly.

Similarly, people who analyze things related to plants, rocks, animals, and weather are considered to be naturalistic intelligent. They have a way with nature.

People having this intelligence are more passionate about travelling, discovering new things etc.

3. Interpersonal Intelligence

People who possess interpersonal intelligence are good at expressing themselves and have a way to converse, behave and convince people. These people are great motivators and often participate in leadership roles such as being politicians, teachers etc.

It involves both nonverbal and verbal communications and having an idea of how to interact with people. These people are good at resolving matters among people and amazing at making others understand their point of view.

4. Musical Intelligence

A rare intelligence which lets people multitask. Playing an instrument requires imagination, creativity and a unique understanding to control the motor and sensory movements to go along the rhythm of music.

People having this intelligence are known to recognize notes and patterns related to music and other fields of life as well. These people can play instruments and sing at the same time.

It's quite possible that people having this trait are extra creative and they go on to become famous names in the future.

5. Spatial Intelligence

This is associated with 3-dimensional objects and patterns. It is one of the most gifted intelligence because not everyone can comprehend the science behind three dimensional things as they require utmost focus and concentration.

These people are amazing at memorizing visual patterns, solving puzzles, producing new inventions with their creativity and most importantly, they are the thinkers.

Such people have a gift at excelling in graphical imagery, being extremely artistic and not to forget, extremely creative.

Spatial intelligence is often higher in people who are game developers, engineers, architects, painters, sailors, pilots etc.

The brain region which is responsible for spatial intelligence is on the right side and it triggers when a person tries to solve an issue or think deeply about something.

6. Kinesthetic Intelligence

Such people can use their body in a unique way. Athletes, dancers and professions that require to use bodies require kinesthetic intelligence.

Extra smart people often lack this intelligence. Cerebellum is a part of the brain that controls coordination, accuracy and timing. People having kinesthetic intelligence have a fast working cerebellum which is why they have tremendous body balance.

Divers, swimmers, dancers and all other kinds of athletes are said to have this intelligence. This doesn't mean that they are dumb. In fact, they have a good blend of mind and body because body movement won't be possible without the mind and a smart mind is what helps people have good coordination.

7. Linguistic Intelligence

Expressing thoughts, morals and feelings in both verbal and nonverbal communications depends upon linguistic intelligence.

Such people are good at understanding what others think and how they feel. They have a way with expressing the most complex of things in a rather easy way which can be understood by the human mind.

Teachers often have this trait as they help students understand difficult concepts in a simple manner.

Authors and speakers are often considered to be linguistically intelligent because they know how to connect and engage with people through their writings and words.

8. Intra-personal Intelligence

While interpersonal intelligence is concerned with understanding others, intra-personal intelligence is all about understanding one's self in a better way.

These people are extra sensitive, great thinkers and have a great depth to understand things around them.

A vast understanding of human behavior is what intra-personal intelligence is all about. This intelligence is considered to be the rarest among all and these people are found to be staying reserved most of the time.

These people are goal achievers and run for the long race. Philosophers, writers, spiritual leaders are found to have this type of intelligence.

9. Existential Intelligence

This kind of intelligence is found among those who are deep thinkers and who questioned existence at many points. Scientists, space and galaxy explorers have this kind of intelligence which is why they have an undying urge of discovering new things.

These people love to question their lives, their existence, their duty etc. Their main area of focus is to find why they've been sent on the earth.


It's not necessary that people who have a higher IQ have all of these intelligences, they may only have a few. You do not have to be good at everything to succeed, you can be the best at one.